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PhD Position in Seismology and Fault Mechanics
The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres we are part of the largest scientific organization in Germany. With approximately 1,300 employees our key mission is to secure a profound understanding of the systems and processes of solid Earth, to develop strategies and options for action in addressing global change and its impacts on a regional level, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, to ensure the sustainable provision of energy and raw materials for a high-tech society and to evaluate the influence of human activity on system Earth.
As a partner in Geo.X, the GFZ has access to an excellent network of other geoscience institutions in Potsdam and Berlin. This largest regional concentration of geoscientific competence in Europe offers first-class cooperation and development opportunities. 
For section 4.2 "Geomechanics and Scientific Drilling" (department “Geosystems”), we are looking for a:

PhD Position in Seismology and Fault Mechanics

Reference Number 4863

Earthquake source characterization and directivity effects near Istanbul: Implications for seismic hazard

The main objective of this project is to analyze the earthquake source properties and the directivity effects of seismicity from the western portion of the North Anatolian Fault in Turkey. There, the permanent downhole geophysical observatory ICDP-GONAF is fully operating and complemented with additional permanent and temporary seismic deployments to improve the seismic coverage. Due to the proximity of the megacity of Istanbul, the project has important implications for the seismic hazard assessment of Istanbul and the constraint of most plausible scenarios for the rupture of a large (M > 6.5) earthquake. The main results will be compared with analogous results from similar tectonic setting in southern California where a denser seismic network is available. The calculated source parameters at the eastern Sea of Marmara and the compiled source parameters from existing studies in southern California will be used to:

(1) Investigate the consistency of source properties and directivity effects within specific regions with mechanical models of dynamic rupture on a velocity contrast (bimaterial) interface.

(2) Relate the obtained source parameters and directivity effects with the distribution of ground motion, thus constraining seismic shaking hazard at nearby population centers.

(3) Decipher whether the rupture directivity of small to moderate earthquakes is consistent with that of the large events in the same region.

The project will benefit with the interaction and collaboration with scientists at the GFZ Potsdam, Ruhr-Universität Bochum and University of Southern California.

Your responsibilities:

  • developing the main scientific results of the project, including the estimation of a catalog of earthquake source parameters for seismicity in the Sea of Marmara, resolving directivity effects of moderated events in the region and relating them to the seismic hazard of the Marmara region
  • collaborating with national and international scientists related to the project
  • wraping-up and publishing research results in ISI peer-reviewed journals
  • participating in field campaings including deployments and maintenance of seismic stations
  • presenting the research results in national and international conferences

Your qualifications:

We welcome applications from candidates who fulfil the following criteria:
  • completed research-oriented university degree, such as a Master's degree in a relevant field (e.g. Geophysics, Physics, ..)
  • an outstanding academic track record
  • background in seismology and earthquake physics
  • strong programming ability (python, matlab)
  • a good command of English, both verbal and written
  • dedication and enthusiasm for research
  • motivation to work in an interdisciplinary and international team
  • willingness for research visits of several weeks at Ruhr-University Bochum and University of Southern California

Start date: as soon as possible
Fixed-term: 3 years
Salary: This position has been assessed as being salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group will be determined by the conditions of the collective wage agreement and the appropriate personal qualifications.
Working hours: part-time 75% (currently 29.25 h/week)
Place of work: Potsdam

What we offer:

  • ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • state-of-the-art equipment
  • public service benefits
  • extensive training opportunities
  • professional career advice offered by our in-house Career-Centre
  • flexible working hours and conditions
  • support with finding a good work-life balance offered by benefit@work
  • institute day-care centre on site 
  • working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam
  • in walking distance of Potsdam main station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus 

Did we pique your interest?

If so, we are looking forward to receiving your application by the 13th April 2021. Please use our online application form only.

Applications must include:

  • a cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position
  • a CV including relevant competences, skills and publication list, if applicable
  • copies of degree certificate(s) and transcripts of records for previous studies (Bachelor and/or Master) - Please indicate expected date of graduation if your Master’s degree is not completed.
  • contact information of two references

Application evaluations will start immediately, and will continue until the position is filled. We wish to reflect the diversity of society and we welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background. The selection will be exclusively based on qualification without regard to gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin or age.

Equal opportunities are an integral part of our personnel policy. We therefore very much welcome applications from qualified women. In the case of equal aptitude, severely disabled persons are given preferential consideration in accordance with the Code of Social Law IX.
Your personal data will be treated in line with Art. 6 (1b) and Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with § 26 BbgDSG during the selection process. After the selection process has been concluded, your application documents will be deleted, in line with data protection regulation. 
In case of any further queries relating to the role’s responsibilities, please contact Dr. Patricia Martinez Garzon on +49 (0) 331 288-28833. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact Ms Buge on +49 (0) 331-288-28787.


Franca Buge
Human Resources
Building G, Room 429
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-28787

Für Fragen zur Gleichstellung steht Ihnen die Gleichstellungsbeauftragte des GFZ, Frau Dr. Weckmann unter Tel. +49 331 288-2824 bzw. per E-Mail zur Verfügung.

Fragen zur Mitarbeit schwerhinderter Personen beantwortet gerne die Schwerbindertenvertreterin des GFZ, Frau Thiel unter Tel. +49 331 288-1648 bzw. per E-Mail.